Shell plans to build ethylene cracker in Appalachian region of US

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7 June 2011, Oil, LPG

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The cracker would process ethane from Marcellus natural gas to produce ethylene, one of the primary building blocks for petrochemicals. Shell is evaluating derivative choices and the leading option is Polyethylene (PE), an important raw material for everyday items, from packaging and adhesives to automotive components and pipe. Most of the PE production would be used by northeastern US industries.

Demand for PE in North America is expected to grow, so the economic and efficiency benefits of a regional cracker make this configuration attractive. Shell has an array of long-term options to monetize natural gas. Extracting ethane and other natural gas liquids for petrochemicals production is one of these options that also include developing shipping solutions for LNG (liquefied natural gas); proprietary gas-to-liquids technology to produce fuels, lubricants and chemicals; and gas-for-transport in markets focusing on heavy duty vehicles, marine and rail transportation, said Shell.

"US natural gas is abundant and affordable. Shell has the expertise and technology to responsibly develop this vital energy resource, including associated products such as polyethylene for the domestic market," said Marvin Odum, President, Shell Oil Company. "With this investment, we would use feedstock from Marcellus to locally produce chemicals for the region and create more American jobs. As an integrated oil and gas company, we are best-placed in the area to do this."

Selection of the site for the cracker and derivative units would be determined in the next phase of the project. Building the facility would be subject to receiving all applicable permits.

Source: Datamonitor

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